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The latest advice is to EAT  2  PLUS  5  AND STAY ALIVE!! That is 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables a day.

If you have an allotment you have no excuse to not get your 2 plus 5 portions a day. This is about 560 gm total a day. Portions are detailed here.

The latest research from the Health Survey of England analysed data from 65,000 people over 8 years. It shows that eating up to 3 portions of fruit and vegetables a day cuts mortality at any age by 14%.

Eating up to 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, cuts mortality at any age by 29%.

Eating up to 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, cuts mortality at any age by 36%.

Eating 7 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, cuts mortality at any age by 42% than those eating less than 1 portion a day.

7 daily portions cuts the risk of heart disease by 31%, and cancer by 25%.

Eating extra vegetables is more healthy than eating extra fruit. This may be due to fruit containing natural sugars. Several fruit drinks a day only count as 1 portion a day, due to the fibre having been removed. Leave the fibre in and several fruit drinks can count as more than 1 portion.

A healthy dinner plate of food would consist of half the plate being vegetables(not including starches), a quarter of protein, and a quarter being low GI carbohydrate.

Pulses Health Benefits. Recent research shows that 1 helping of pulses(peas, beans, lentils etc.,) a day, cuts bad cholesterol by about 5%, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. Pulses contain “sticky” or soluble fibre which attracts the LDL (bad) cholesterol and helps the system to get rid of it.

Pulses can cause flatulence at first, but this problem reduces over time. If soaking dried pulses, throw away the first and second soaking waters and do not use them for cooking.

"Norse Nosh", ( fish, berries, game, vegetables, whole grains), reduce adverse effects of being overweight, by reducing genes associated with chronic illness or found in fatty adipose tissue, according to Finnish University.The "Viking diet" included at least 3 servings of fish a week, low-fat dairy products and rapeseed oil.

Shocking!! A recent survey shows that 40% of people in the UK do not eat any fruit or vegetables on at least 1 day a week. (potatoes do not count as a vegetable as it is full of starch). The reasons given for not eating vegetables were: 44% did not like the texture, 29% did not like the smell, 28% had a childhood fear of vegetables(was a pea going to get up from the plate and attack them!) and did not eat certain vegetables now as they had not eaten them as a child!! The fear of the unknown. Interesting that cost is not given as a reason.

The latest advice is "eat 2 plus 5 and stay alive", (2 of fruit and 5 of veg) but only 6% of people manage this. Favourite vegetables were carrots, mushrooms, peas and broccoli.

Least liked vegetables were aubergines, celery, spinach, asparagus and brussel sprouts.

Interesting that the survey did not mention the taste of veg as a reason for people not eating veg. My impression is that modern varieties of veg are generally sweeter and not so bitter compared to older varieties. eg. peas, sweetcorn, brussels, cabbage, tomatoes. Cooking also has a part to play where smell was mentioned. In the old days, cabbage and other brassicas were cooked to death, whereas now steaming for a max of 5 mins, prevents this off putting smell of boiled cabbage!

Forget some of the superfoods recommended by celebrities, and replace them with much cheaper alternatives that you can grow on the allotment. For chlorophyll, vitamins A, C, E, iron and calcium, use broccoli or other brassicas. For vitamins C, K, grow your own blueberries. For vitamins A, B2, C, iron, grow your own spinach.

You have grown your own fruit and vegetables, defeating all that the elements, pests and diseases have thrown at you, and then you find that you cannot lay your hands on suitable recipes that take advantage of the large quantities of fruit and vegetables that you will grow. This section hopes to give you the necessary ideas to bridge that gap.

Most of us are trying to eat more healthily these days. To this end, I have re-formulated my recipes to cut out most of the additives that most health experts now agree are bad for our health. Sadly, most of the professional chefs on TV food programmes, have still not woken up to the fact that their recipes are very bad for our health. Therefore, in the interests of lowering levels of bad cholesterol and blood pressure, I have followed these criteria in my recipes:-

No saturated fats added; liquid vegetable oils used instead. If the recipe calls for meat, there will be some existing saturated fat in the meat. You can reduce this by cutting off as much fat as possible.

Health Hint. It has been discovered that if you eat a low fat dairy product with a fatty meal, the calcium in the dairy product combines with some of the fat and helps it to pass straight through the digestive system.

No hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats used; liquid vegetable oils used instead. Hydrogenated fat is frequently found in margarine, and other solid fats formed by hydrogenating liquid fats. Hydrogenated fat has been chemically hardened using hydrogen, and is a man-made fat that is not found in nature. Hence, the  human body cannot process it properly and some of it ends up on our artery walls.

No trans-fat added. This is formed when liquid oils are chemically hardened with hydrogen, and is a man-made fat that is not found in nature. Again the human body cannot process it properly and some of it ends up on our artery walls.

It is found in many processed foods such as ice cream, chips, popcorn, cakes, biscuits. It is frequently used to fry Restaurant and takeaway fried food.

As trans-fats do not need to be labelled in the list of ingredients in the UK, avoid any foods that have words such as “shortening, margarine, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or fat” in the list of ingredients. Other countries such as Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, and some parts of the USA, have legislation to restrict or even ban it.

No interesterified fat added. Another man-made fat which has been chemically hardened using enzymes or acids. Frequently found in margarine and spreads, and may well turn out in the long run to be bad for health.

Reduced total fat; more fruit content gives a moister end product.

No added salt; herbs, spices and natural flavourings used instead. At first, this may take some getting use to. Salt was not readily available till quite recent times, and it was extremely expensive. In the UK climate, you should not need extra salt above what occurs naturally in meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.

Reduced sugar; you soon get used to it, but be aware that you may have to keep cakes in the fridge, as sugar is a preservative as well as a sweetener. Again, sugar was not readily available until quite recent times. The human body does not need large amounts of added sugar from a nutritional point of view.

If you decide to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, be aware that “Aspartame” sweetener is alleged to be a cause of some heart problems in some people. As a result, many manufacturers are removing it from their products.

The average consumption of sugar per person per week is 700g or the equivalent of 140 teaspoons. Excess sugar is now thought to be a major factor in poor health, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

The world health organisation is thought ready to recommend that people limit their total sugar intake(including that from fruit), to only 5% of their total energy intake. This is half the present recommendations.

The latest diet advice suggests that short term crash diets of only 800 calories a day, lowers fat levels in the liver and pancreas, and allows insulin level to return to normal levels. This treatment can “cure” type 2 diabetes.

If there is insufficient insulin, blood sugar levels soar with dangerous side effects. These can include  heart attacks, strokes, blindness, foot amputation and dementia.

For 10 years, a Cardiologist has treated his hospital heart patients with a glass of red wine in the morning and a glass of red wine in the evening. If the patients continue with this "medicine", apart from feeling good(hick!!), there is a 50% reduced risk of a second heart attack. Red grape skin has high levels of antioxidants, such as flavonoids, and resveratrol which reduces levels of bad cholesterol that may cause blood clots, and they cause dilation of the arteries. Red wine also helps to keep the inner lining of the blood vessels smooth staving off blood clots.

The good news for plotters is that high levels of these antioxidants, not only are found in red grapes, but are also found in rasps, brambles, tayberries, blackcurrants, red gooseberries and red currants. These fruits can be used in crumbles, pies, ice cream, jams, so not only doing you good, they also taste good. Think about adding some fruit bushes to your allotments.

The recipes given in this section are just a few of my favourite ways of using some of the fruit and  vegetables that I grow.



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